Steward School 2019 just wrapped up, and what a week it was! We had a great turnout, and it was good to see a lot of old friends and meet several new ones.
More than $105,000 was raised for the Pipeliners Voluntary Fund through the Local 798 Charity Golf Tournament, The Mathis Family Clay Shoot, and the Lincoln Electric, Miller, Mathey Dearman, PSS, and Sawyer Mfg. Raffles. Thank you to everyone that took part and worked to make this possible. Much good will come from these donations. The retiree banquet seems to get better every year. It’s nice to hear the words of advice that these retirees offer up to Local 798 members. One thing you’ll never hear from this group is that they regret choosing to join Local 798 all those years ago.
Congratulations to Shannon Jackson for being installed as Inside Guard. Shannon and his crew of Inside Guards did a great job of seeing that the week ran smoothly. A lot of work falls on the Inside Guard, and Shannon has shown that he is up to the task. Thank you to all who worked behind the scenes to make Steward School the success it was. Special thanks to Farron Hollabaugh and his staff at the Training Center, and to all the members that worked as Inside Guards for the week. Local 798 Office Manager Josalyn Johnson and the entire Local 798 office staff work tirelessly planning and preparing for this week, and I’d like to thank them for that. Thank you to the Ladies of 798 for all the hard work they put into the week and all the charities that they support through the basket auction. Congratulations and best wishes to Cathy Blackmore on her retirement.
It’s no secret that the work has been slower this winter than in the last couple of years. I wish that every year would be like 2017 and 2018, but that’s not always going to be the case. The work in this industry has always been peaks and valleys, and it will continue to be this way. We are in a situation right now where we have numerous big projects that have been awarded to good union contractors, but many of these projects are held up and pushed back due to permit issues. We are in the fight of our lives right now on a couple of different fronts.
First, the permit issues that we continue to face are brought on mostly by far-left anti-fossil fuel groups. These groups are well funded and are wreaking havoc on the industry that is our chosen profession. They have groups of lawyers targeting the agencies that are tasked with issuing the permits for these projects. This situation, combined with the activist federal judges that cater to them, has taken a toll on the amount of work we can get out there and perform. The best way to fight this right now is by becoming activists ourselves and to be out front advocating for these jobs. When there’s a public meeting concerning these projects, we make blast calls, emails, and texts targeting members within driving distance of these meetings. If you get these notifications and are at all able to attend, please show up and be a voice of reason. Sign any petitions that come through the Action Network. This action is making a difference. Thank you to all who are already taking these steps.
Secondly, the non-union sector is taking full advantage of cheap labor in Texas to help them grow and get more market share. Business Manager Danny Hendrix explained at the regular April Membership Meeting this past Friday night that we’ve been working with the PLCA, the UA Pipeline Department, and the other three union crafts to develop a Market Recovery program. It is geared toward regaining the work down south, particularly Texas, but also has been utilized out west. We’ve given some concessions for our union contractors to go out and try to take this work away from the non-union, and we’ve had a couple of instances where it has already worked. The most recent was the 19.7 miles of heavy wall 42” that Rockford was able to pick up in Texas. It never gives you a good feeling to take any type of cut to our wages or fringes, but we all agreed that it was necessary at this time to get back into this market. As Danny said, our National Pipeline Agreement remains in place. The market recovery package is specific for certain projects that arise where we see the need to give concessions to get these jobs for our members. I hope and expect that this market recovery will work like it’s intended, which is to get our members on jobs that otherwise would have gone non-union. It is hard to compete with contractors that don’t believe their employees deserve a livable wage, healthcare, and pensions. We will never be cheaper, but I firmly believe if we can close the initial gap on the bid, our performance on the job will make the difference to some of these clients. One thing that will not change is that we will never stop working to secure more of this market share for the members of Pipeliners Local Union 798.
If there is ever anything I can help with, please don’t hesitate to call on me. As always, I am proud to serve the membership of Pipeliners Local Union 798.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters, I hope everyone had a great holiday season and a Merry Christmas. As seasons go, to me, winter is a time for reflection and a time to prepare for the upcoming spring and summer.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I hope that each one of you was able to spend some time with your families and enjoy the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
First, I want to say that I hope everyone has a great new year filled with prosperity and good health for their entire family.
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